From oct 2010 my educational posts are published only on Pip

26 aug. 2011

Disruptive Africa is part of the same community as us

I talked to South African Barry Coetzee the night before the Conference and realized that he’s that kind of experienced person who knows everything - in a good way - even though he had just spotted his first IKEA the same day.

It turned out that Barry, CEO at iVeri Payment Technologies, is sitting on the future of Africa. He brought lots of slides with statistics and visualization, but I only needed to listen to him to understand what he was saying. Old technology will be modified by an enormous market to new versions we don’t know of today.

Africa is an enormous market that up till just recently have had almost no online connection, a state that has changed quickly but with yet far further changes to face. Africans are getting connected today, but with vast rural areas and no permanent lines it’s a mobile world where for example Nokia is a strong actor. SMS is the way to communicate. If you want to do a search on the Internet you sms your question to a company who do the search for you and sms the answer back to you. You can subscribe to a service that send you and sms with the currency of the day to see if it is a good day to sell your crop at the market or to know if your checkbook has arrived at the bank office.

Very important in these new opportunities are the payment systems. The comfort it brings people to not have to travel for hours to a city to withdraw money in a bank, but to use the phone to get the required money is evident. Big actors as MasterCard have to be creative and offer methods to pay without having an account.

Barry trusts the overwhelmingly young population to find creativity and productiveness in the Africa specific challenges. It’s an entire population who only knows a reality with no infrastructure but with simple mobiles and out of new formats will grow.

The audience put a question that added an angle to this talk – what are they doing online for fun? They SMS each other and... they go on Facebook. Because Facebook those clever bastards are heading for the world, to become the Internet, and offers free usage for african inhabitors. They actually pay them to be on Facebook. The Africans will in the end be a part of the same community as the rest of us.

Läs detaljerad återgivning av Barrys presentation på Bisonblogg

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